The Super Six semi-finals slashes the competition in half, but is it the right half?
This was the most action-packed episode of “The Masked Singer” we’ve seen yet, with a triple eviction we did not see coming -- and are not at all happy about.
FIrst of all, this Super Six is the strongest lineup we’ve ever seen at this stage of the competition, with an argument to be made for every single one of them winning the season. And now we had to lose three of them in one night?
To top it all off, whoever is in charge of voting for home totally got this one wrong, too. Keeping with their original group designations, the Super Six paired off for one-on-one competition, meaning they only had to beat one other mask to stay.
And yet, for two out of the three matchups, we found ourselves yelling at the screen as the wrong singer was sent packing. It definitely gave us a favorite heading into the finale in two weeks’ time, but it doesn’t make us any happier for what went down here tonight.
Before the heartbreak, the Super Six hit the stage together for an incredible performance of a-ha’s “Take on Me,” proving definitively that this is easily the strongest final six we’ve seen yet on this show. Here we were agonizing about sending even one of them home, but after that, how can we lose half of them?
Truthfully, we didn’t even have a favorite coming into the night, as we’ve seen some outstanding moments from each and every one of them.
Sure, we could argue that Sun and Seahorse were the probable front-runners, but Jellyfish has grown week after week, Mushroom is undeniable and we already know (or think we know) that Popcorn is a legend, while Crocodile just brings it with world-class vocals and showmanship each time.
For another surprise, the panel was joined by yet another guest panelist and this time they proved they’ve got the chops to compete on the show. They came out all masked up and playing piano, which kind of has us wondering if we can ever add instruments to this madhouse.
Yes, it would be insane and complicated and ultimately ridiculous, but have you seen this show?
Truthfully, our guest wasn’t as solid as any of these finalists, but he’s nevertheless a brilliant entertainer we recognized immediately. He’s also a great plug for the upcoming “Ellen”-inspired spinoff, “The Masked Dancer.” Of course we’re talking about “The Office” alum and upcoming “Dancer” host, Craig Robinson.
Let’s jump right in with this week’s masks. And don’t worry, before we get to the shocking unmasking, we're going to make you power through the terrible (and occasionally good) guesses made by our illustrious panel of Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger first. We do this because we love ... to torture you.
Seahorse took on choreography for the first time, admitting she was intimidated by who she thought Crocodile was, but this was a stunning performance. She sounded nervous early on, which affected her breath control. So it wasn’t a strong jump out of the gate, but this ‘horse quickly got it together and was off to the races with beautiful power, grace, runs and range. She’s just a natural talent vocally.
Guesses: Her super clue this week was a telescope while we saw a “Soul Street” sign behind her in the opener. She then revealed that before this show, Nick was “a great host to [her].” So was she on “Wild ‘N Out”?
Robin finally got it together and picked up what Twitter has been laying down since Day 1 thinking that the voice, those riffs and everything else about her reminds him of Tori Kelly. Jenny, however, thinks still it could be Kesha, based on space references and some of her song titles.
Craig, however, simply heard the sound “see” and “sea” over and over again and decided that maybe “Sea”horse is Sia. But as we’ve said before, everyone knows what Sia sounds like and it ain’t that. But Tori Kelly does sound like that, and Twitter remains just as convinced as ever that’s who this is.
Crocodile took on an Aerosmith anthem and we were pretty worried for him, but he absolutely slayed Steven Tyler without stepping away from his own vocal style. He has such an incredible range musically -- and tonally -- with this perhaps being his most compelling and impressive performance on the season. That’s how you compete!
Guesses: His super clue was pretty gross, a pizza being snatched by a rat -- remember that viral video -- while we also learned he has two kids he travels eight hours to see after each performance. That makes us think of a Vegas performer getting back to LA.
Crocodile’s connection was that he was sharing the screen with Craig again, so a co-star? Thinking of the boy band clue, Craig says Backstreet Boys is the only one he’s sang with on-screen, with the kids clue narrowing it down to Howie, AJ or Nick Carter (internet fans like this guess!)
The rocker vibe had him leaning toward AJ McLean. The pizza rat clue, though, had Ken thinking of 98 Degrees and Nick Lachey instead of BSB. But Crocodile was filing his nails and even started walking away … so probably not that Nick.
Derek Hough is still getting some love line, along with other boy banders, but they've long felt confident that this is Nick Carter and they're not about to back down now.
This battle proved even tougher than we expected when it felt like both Seahorse and Crocodile really stepped up their game. That was the best and most versatile performance we’ve seen yet from Crocodile.
At the same time, we just can’t imagine a “Masked Singer” finale this season without Seahorse there. She’s been incredible for so long this season, she really deserves to take it all the way. Appropriately, Nick revealed that the vote was very close, but that closeness betrayed our favorite.
That’s right, Crocodile pulled off a stunning upset, sending Seahorse home just shy of the finale, and our hearts are absolutely broken. She is one of the best singers this season has seen and really gave it her all tonight.
We’ll agree that Crocodile outperformed her if we add in stage presence and everything else. We’re gonna miss that voice, though!
Mushroom brought a pretty cool swagger to “Valerie,” but we honestly expected a lot more from him at this stage. We know he has an incredible range, a lot of power and even a killer falsetto. And yet, this was a very subdued performance. It was solid, but lacked almost all of those signature vocal elements that left people marveling at his range and even second guessing his gender. But the beatboxing was a new twist that caught us all by surprise.
Guesses: His super clue this week was a classic alarm clock, while he revealed he’d lost someone to Covid as well. He also revealed that he loves mixing it up with Robin again, because it’s not the first time they’ve connected.
But Robin’s still thinking maybe it’s Jaden Smith, with his messages of love and unity on top of his voice. Nicole, however, noted the unique hips-first way that Mushroom walks, settling into one of the internet’s favorite guesses, Jordan Fisher.
Jordan is a “Dancing with the Stars” winner, and spent some time in a production of “Hamilton” -- and we’ve gotten so many “Hamilton” clues the name Lin-Manuel Miranda has been tossed out, along with several of its most notable cast-members.
As an example, Craig threw out Leslie Odom Jr. to keep that spirit alive. But Ken was thinking multi-hyphenate Keegan Michael-Key, perhaps, because previous orange peel clues could reference “Key & Peele.”
Of the six, Mushroom is the one who has Twitter stumped the most, as well, with guesses ranging all over the place all season long. And tonight was no different as we saw names ranging from Jason Derulo to Aloe Blacc, Donald Glover and Jonathan Groff. And while there is no consensus, we are seeing Aloe Blacc's name more than anyone else (though still with no confidence).
Jellyfish brought a beautifully haunting quality to Rihanna’s “Stay,” creating a really special moment. That she could make us feel connected to the lyric and her story through that costume is a testament to her artistry and just how authentically she connects to the song. This was a special moment, delivered with grace and subtlety.
Guesses: Saying she was on top of her game -- and she’s really grown through this journey -- we also learned that the Eiffel Tower is connected to her in some way, as is Ken. She said they’d never met, but she can’t say she didn’t try.
Ken actually did some digging, thinking maybe this is the Olympic gold medalist the show is supposed to have. That got him thinking maybe Chloe Kim has a special talent of singing; his wife and kids love her.
Nicole, though, wondered if perhaps French Canadian Grimes isn’t under the mask, hilariously thinking the push through statement had to do with her having a baby and all the X’s represent the baby’s unusual name, X Æ A-Xii.
Robin, though, thought the Tower was because Olympics 2024 will be in Paris, so he followed Ken to the Olympics, but thought the “Ups & Downs Dr.” clue might be pointing at Gabby Douglas.
Twitter, though, who has not had a consensus here either actually likes Ken's guess, too. There is still a lot of love out there for Noah Cyrus, Elle King, Brie Bella and even some people still guessing Kylie Jenner.
Honestly, we expected more of Mushroom, and at the same time feel like Jellyfish upped her game yet again this week. Mushroom has been a showstopper in weeks past, but Jellyfish has such a contemporary vibe and sound, she’s our winner, for sure.
And yet, this audience seems to have a real problem with women or something. How are both Seahorse and Jellyfish getting unmasked tonight? Congrats to Mushroom, but we really thought the ladies have been stronger to this point and were almost anticipating an all-female finale. For now, there isn’t one there at all.
At least the next group guarantees at least one will make it as it’s woman v woman … but we’re still very perplexed by these votes.
The mushroom over jellyfish??!? What in the world! If the Sun goes home I’ll go mad #TheMaskedSinger
Popcorn brings the goods every time and we are honored to go to her concert. She’s been at this for decades and you can hear and see it in how she commands a stage and brings it every single time. This was her most animated performance yet and those vocals didn’t suffer a bit. This is the kind of classic soul/r&b voice that gets you on your feet!
Guesses: We got a “Lasso Lane” street sign and a stop sign, which had Jenny thinking “Stop In the Name of Love.” She also revealed she’s chatted with Jenny before, and is a published author.
Jenny was thinking Mary Wilson, who’s been on her show, but was also starting to see Twitter’s favorite guess for Popcorn, Taylor Dayne. Robin, though, went off to goofy-land and chose Bette Midler just because he thinks she’d dig the costume.
Bette has an incredible voice, and can get that grit in there, but it just doesn’t really fit. Nicole, though, kind of liked the Bette guess. But Craig thinks “Stop” is a Supremes reference, so he jumped on the Mary Wilson bandwagon, too.
While there are a few outliers in the Twitter-sphere who'll throw out names like Tina Turner, it's mostly a vast sea of people saying this is Taylor Dayne and if you don't think this is Taylor Dayne then you've obviously never seen or heard Taylor Dayne.
Sun set the stage on fire with a powerful take on one of Billie Eilish’s hardest songs to maneuver. Her range is incredible, and the gentle way she climbed through it was an absolute masterclass in vocal control. Through it all she delivered heart and real emotion. This was such a vulnerable performance, it drew tears even from behind a costume.
Guesses: With an “Early Riser Rd” sign and talk of years in dance competitions, Sun revealed she’s struggled to express her feelings in the past (she had no troubles tonight). She also dropped a very random fire-breathing clue.
As for her panel connection, it was with Nicole and hilariously they last met in the bathroom. This might be our favorite clue of all time. That didn’t help Nicole much, though, so she latched onto a lot of blue in clue packages to LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue” … for a second.
So then she thought maybe Brandi Carlile for the flre clue and her album “The Firewatcher’s Daughter.” Ken thinks maybe it’s Kate Hud-Sun, who’s the daughter of Goldie Hawn, and there were also gold references in clue packages.
Craig wondered if perhaps it was Emilia Clarke, Mother of Dragons, for the fire-breathing and all the gold. The internet, though, remains pretty consistent and confident that this is LeAnn Rimes, with a few nods for some other iconic huge voices like Carrie Underwood.
This was the most brutal matchup of the night because Popcorn really took us to church with a stellar performance. But then Sun was transcendent. And for her consistency from the very start in leading the pack, we had to give this one to Sun.
Thankfully, the voters on this show finally got one right and sent The Sun into the finale -- where she’s probably gonna win, right? We get that voters were leaning toward men tonight, but this is The Sun and she’s been dominating this competition since Day 1. No one comes close!
Nick flipped the script and kept Popcorn on the stage to get unmasked first. While the panel took a while to join up with the most popular guess online, we really can’t think of a better pick than Taylor Dayne.
Her fans have been rock solid on that being her signature vocal style, and even Jenny was hearing it this week. But what was her first guess? Turns out she joined most of the panel with the most obvious first impression.
Robin Thicke: first impression (Tina Turner), final guess (Tina Turner)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Tina Turner), final guess (Taylor Dayne)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Tina Turner), final guess (Tina Turner)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Diana Ross), final guess (Taylor Dayne)
Craig Robinson: final guess (Taylor Dayne)
While she had a classic vibe that harkens back to the early days of pioneering legends like Tina Turner and Mary Wilson, we must also remember that the 1980s is long enough ago now that artists who made their mark then have been at it for decades.
One of the best-selling artists of all time, and yet an entire generation is only being introduced to her voice through this show, Taylor Dayne was all smiles as she emerged from under Popcorn’s adorable smile.
Of the three contestants unmasking tonight, Jellyfish has had the most heads scratching in uncertainty. It’s evident that she has an incredible voice, channeling an unexpected pain tonight, but it’s been less clear who it is.
We were feeling pretty confident with “The Hills” star Whitney Port after last week’s performance, but we’re also thinking we need a gold medalist somewhere on this show. Could it be here? We have no idea, so we decided to follow Ken’s lead as his guess tonight was pretty heartfelt and think this is Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim.
If it is her, she has an incredible second talent she could shift to if and when she hangs up that board because she is absolutely incredible. She’s also from Long Beach, which is inside “The Hills” of Los Angeles. See, we can make it work, too!
Robin Thicke: first impression (Addison Rae), final guess (Gabby Douglas)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Daisy Ridley), final guess (McKayla Maroney)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Yara Shahidi), final guess (Chloe Kim)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Sofia Richie), final guess (Grimes)
Craig Robinson: final guess (Chloe Kim)
Here’s the thing, no matter who it was going to be, it was clear that Jellyfish did not come into this competition as a professional singer. But she absolutely rose to the occasion, going toe to toe with many of them and even surpassing a few.
And throughout her journey on the show, she has grown so much as a performer and a vocalist, we really hope she doesn’t give up this path as she’s got a real gift. Oh, and Ken got this one right. What a bright heart Chloe Kim has, and an incredible voice.
With one of the most consistent, impressive and strongest voices in the competition, Twitter has been long convinced that this is the under-rated Tori Kelly. She’s a world-class vocalist who has soared already in her career, but is nevertheless deserving of a bigger mainstream spotlight. But is this her?
Robin Thicke: first impression (JoJo), final guess (Tori Kelly)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Halsey), final guess (Halsey)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Fergie), final guess (Christina Aguilera)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Maren Morris), final guess (Tori Kelly)
Craig Robinson: final guess (Tori Kelly)
No matter what, this is one of the strongest and most consistent voices on this show and she deserved so much more and a spot in the finale, by our reckoning. And we hope that Tori Kelly achieves everything she wants.
Yes, she has two Grammys and has made a huge mark in Gospel and everyone who knows her agrees she has one of the best voices in music today. But there are so many people out there who’ve missed the Tori Kelly train -- until she started blowing them away on this show. That makes us happy for them ... and her.
“The Masked Singer” celebrates the holidays with a “Singalong” special next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.